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Haliburton County Lakes Stressors and Troubling Indicators Terry Moore Research Director.

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Presentation on theme: "Haliburton County Lakes Stressors and Troubling Indicators Terry Moore Research Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 Haliburton County Lakes Stressors and Troubling Indicators Terry Moore Research Director

2 Two Imperatives 1.The health of Haliburton's environment and its economy and property values are connected and dependent on the reality, not merely the image, of outstanding water quality. 2. Water quality protection and maintenance is "job one" for all of us

3 The Image Haliburton is home to 600+ pristine lakes

4 Ignorance was Bliss For years lake associations Did secchi disk and phosphorous testing While not ideal there was not a lot of change But indicators were troubling Weed growth ↑ Fish populations ↓ Foul odours ↑ Algal blooms ↑

5 Response Set out to learn & share more – Numerous training courses – Expert speakers Did more testing – Dissolved Oxygen – Calcium – Invasive species – Coliform & E Coli Investigated actions that could be taken to improve the situation

6 Multiple Stressors Phosphorous + Calcium declines Runoff ↓ 25% Invasive species ↑ Open water season length ↑ Temperatures ↑ Dr Norman Yan - MOE

7 Phosphorus and Calcium Levels Static Phosphorus levels are driving excessive nutrient loading; Declining Calcium levels are threatening algae eating organisms such as the Daphnia

8 Ca decline in 37 Muskoka/Haliburton lakes* 4.5 1:1 4.0 Median change = -12% Ca (mg/L) in the 1980's *Michelle Palmer’s PhD vs. old DESC data

9 The “little living lawnmower” Daphnia* It’s ~3% Ca * Photo by D. Taylor, U of Buffalo

10 Algal blooms Are Increasing 50 other golden-brown algae green algae blue-green algae total, green & blue-green algae bloom reports from (p < 0.001) For more information see: Winter et al. (2011) Algal blooms in Ontario, Canada: Increases in reports since Lakes & Reservoir Management, 27:

11 Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Levels The Trout are in Trouble

12 Trout = Aquatic Canaries in Coal Mines Trout are very sensitive to Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Levels Cannot survive in an environment below 7mg/l of DO MOE and MNR test Cold Water Trout Lakes (CWTL) for DO CWTL with DO levels below 7mg/l are considered “at capacity” and new lot creation is embargoed

13 Haliburton Trout Lakes “At Capacity” Status Number of cold water trout lakes (CWTLs) in Haliburton County (HC) = 105; * number "at capacity" = 50 (or 48%); * number "not at capacity" = 43 (or 41%); * number not rated = 12 (or 11%) If you take out the 12 "not rated" lakes the following results: * number of rated lakes at capacity = 50/93 or 54%; * number of rated lakes "not at capacity" = 43/93 or 46%

14 Dead Zones in Haliburton Lakes Timing, Size and Duration All Affected by Human Activity

15 Global Warming is altering the rules of the game Changes to the hydrological cycle across Eastern North America Less precipitation as snow and smaller snow pack Earlier snow melt Later ice over and earlier ice out More rain in spring and fall Less rain in summer More extreme weather events including drought and heavy precipitation More Challenges for the TSW Changes to the hydrological cycle across Eastern North America Less precipitation as snow and smaller snow pack Earlier snow melt Later ice over and earlier ice out More rain in spring and fall Less rain in summer More extreme weather events including drought and heavy precipitation More Challenges for the TSW

16 What is Causing Water Quality Decline on our Lakes? Best Answer = Combined Impact of Multiple Stressors Septic Systems Shoreline De Naturalization and Climate Change Best Answer = Combined Impact of Multiple Stressors Septic Systems Shoreline De Naturalization and Climate Change

17 Who Will Look After Our Lakes? All levels and stripes of govt are cutting back – MNR – MOE – Federal Government More and more will fall to underfunded and under staffed Lake Associations All levels and stripes of govt are cutting back – MNR – MOE – Federal Government More and more will fall to underfunded and under staffed Lake Associations

18 Key Factors Under Individual Control Septic Systems – Every system pollutes – 1 in 4 systems are not working properly Septic Systems – Every system pollutes – 1 in 4 systems are not working properly Un Natural Shorelines

19 Most Important Individual Actions Healthy Septic Systems and Practices Time and Bacteria – Time by minimizing water use ( 1 drop in = 1 drop out) – Bacteria by eliminating all bacteria killers + Tip sheet available Healthy Septic Systems and Practices Time and Bacteria – Time by minimizing water use ( 1 drop in = 1 drop out) – Bacteria by eliminating all bacteria killers + Tip sheet available Shoreline Naturalization Replace this with next slide Shoreline Naturalization Replace this with next slide

20 2 years

21 Encourage Collective Action Tell Political Leaders to get serious about Climate Change and other Lake Stressors Support Mandatory Septic Re-Inspection and Remedial Action Support Shoreline Protection and Restoration Initiatives Support and Get Involved in Lake Association Water Quality Initiatives Tell Political Leaders to get serious about Climate Change and other Lake Stressors Support Mandatory Septic Re-Inspection and Remedial Action Support Shoreline Protection and Restoration Initiatives Support and Get Involved in Lake Association Water Quality Initiatives

22 Questions???


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